has acquired Lucasfilm Limited for just over $4 billion.
We're on the verge of a branding mash-up the likes of which has never been seen by media consuming public. Mickey and Goofy, Simba and Aladdin, Fozzie and Kermit, WALL-E and Mr. Incredible, Thor and Iron Man and The Hulk are now allowed (and will likely be required to) cavort with Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Mon Mothma and Count Dooku. The mind reels.
And the topper: A new Star Wars film is in the works. Now that George Lucas has taken his payoff and retired to his private valley, long-time Lucasfilm producer Kathleen Kennedy is starting up a new series, with Star Wars: Episode VII slated to release in 2015.
I can already see the direction Disney is going to take with their new intellectual property: Big, fast and fully integrated. New themes for the theme parks. New kiddie shows for the Disney Channel (Star Wars Babies? has that been done before?). They'll make their $4 billion back in no time.
For old-school fans like me, the ones who saw Star Wars back in 1977 and witnessed the franchise's sad decline, this is either great news-- or the big, final step into oblivion. It's obvious that the rock in the road in terms of the last three Star Wars films has been George Lucas himself-- his feeble kiddie-pandering, his dull political pontificating, and his peculiar and depressing take on morality. His decisions were impediments that prevented the second three films from reaching the heights of the first three.
With Lucas himself out of the way (after having written the treatments to Episodes VII, VIII and IX, which is his right, of course), and if Disney and Kennedy draft writers and directors with vision, the franchise may again achieve excellence.
If they fail to sieze this opportunity, get ready for endless versions of "The Star Wars Holiday Special," from 2015 to the end of time.